Before donning the Old English D, Alex Avila, Justin Verlander, Nick Castellanos and other Tiger stars wore the uniform of the Erie SeaWolves. The SeaWolves are the Detroit Tigers Double-A affiliate in Erie Pennsylvania.
Led by manager Andrew Graham, as well as former Detroit Tigers Willie Blair and Mike Hessman, stars of the future play with the Erie SeaWolves. Willie Blair is the pitching coach and played for multiple big league clubs. He finished his career as a Tiger, in 2000.
Mike Hessman was also a Detroit Tiger and is the hitting coach for the Erie club. Of the top 15 Detroit Tigers minor league prospects, 5 play for the Erie SeaWolves.
What is a Prospect?
Major league teams determine prospects by weighing elements of age, potential and overall talent level.
For example; An 18 yr old playing at AA will be a higher prospect than a 23 yr old with similar potential and talent playing at AA. Age and potential are heavily weighted factors.
Potential is a player’s skill set. Skills take into consideration the player’s overall toolset.
Hitting for average, hitting for power, base running speed, arm strength, and fielding abilities are the player’s toolset.
Potential weighs heavily in the lower minors. It’s believed that with proper development, a player with great potential can be groomed into a good pro player.
As one climbs in age and minor league level, actual talent level exceeds potential. A player, who may not be a future star, but perhaps is a good everyday type will succeed where “potential” will not.